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New Poetry, Fiction, Essays

Poetry by Barry Fentiman Hall

Barry Fentiman Hall is based in Kent, England. He is a writer of place and the ways that we fit around it. He has published a book called The Unbearable Sheerness Of Being (Wordsmithery 2016) and has appeared in City Without A Head (Wordsmithery 2013). He is the editor of Confluence Magazine and has been running a spoken word night called Roundabout Nights in Chatham for the past three years. He gravitates towards hares. They understand him.

https://www.wordsmithery.info/

https://theestuarymonologues.wordpress.com/

 

 

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TALKING WITH A RACIST ABOUT GARDENING

I knew it was coming by
By the roll of the shoulders
The self righteous chest, puffed
Fat and sour as a bean
From his garden
He is spitting his truths
Like bad seeds
From rotten fruit
Suddenly I realise
I am shouting
A scarecrow
Waking the birds
From their blissfully ignorant
Perch on the fence
Only to settle
In the silence after
As though nothing had happened
The way that birds do
There’s still 8 hours to go
Changing the subject
I pour water on
Scorched summer earth
His apple red uncle’s face
Was still laughing
About the murder
When the talk turned
To the lettuces
That were coming up
In the planters I had made
Till we went about our duties
Filling the in trays
Of people who wish
Us good morning
And do not know
That behind their back
The jolly gardener they greet
Calls some of them nigger

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CALLER I.D.

A man on the stairs called out
A woman in the foyer called his name
A boy in the street called home
A girl beside him called an ambulance
A man in a uniform called for calm
A woman in London called a meeting
A man in America called them losers
A woman on the internet called it misogyny
A man in the park called for unity
A woman in London called a halt to the campaign
A man who worked for her immediately called a press conference
A woman on the news called a witness
A man from a talent show called a false flag
A woman from another talent show called for a final solution
A boy in the hospital called his mother
A girl in the hospital couldn’t call anyone
A nurse on the ward called a number that he found
A man who answered called him a liar till he cried and dropped the phone.

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MY MY MY

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The sun rises behind
My back
And whispers things in
My ear
This light is not for
My eyes
It chuckles, tickling
My palm
Turn around if you dare
My lad
It takes possession of
My words
Like the Coke ad girl on
My shelter
It gets what it wants in
My world
By promising things in
My dreams
In a 70s sort of way, from
My childhood
When the dawn was in
My stars
Before the nine to five became
My life

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EARTHBOUND CROW

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I had forgotten somehow
That I once had wings
The aches I get
Across my chest
Are muscle memories
Of a painful loss
My feet are planted
Firmer on the ground
Each passing year
An earthbound crow
Hopping three toed
To officiate
On all that matters
Beneath the sky
We shed our feathers
With our childhood
When we do not
Know their purpose
And only when 
Our wings are gone
Do we remember
We can fly

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I ALWAYS SMILE AT STRANGERS

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At 15.24 I saw the last of it
Down the corridor a summoner
Rang the bell to call me home
To mark the day that no-one saw
Turner slammed his knife hard
Upon the anvil that burst
Through the old beeches
That marked the boundary
Of my youthful kingdom
I went among these streets
As worlds balanced on mountains
Checking my stride against
Hutches sprouting where
All had been other once
You can now buy cheap oranges
Where I learned not to drown
And dropping in on the old dog
Faces spoke I did not know
Hello and things about my skin
smooth where hair had once been
A cod crooner bid me stand by him
As athletes sporting tribal tattoos
Beat out a meaningless encounter
And food budgets were pissed away
Behind me in the hope of cherries
Hungry Luis fed on carrion
Spooned by hapless Fashers
But I don’t care anymore
This world views me through
Documentary eyes dead with
Pain they haven’t felt yet
And not one of them knows
That a bad thing happened today
Because I always smile at strangers

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